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Injured Bell hits second ODI ton
Ian Bell defied the discomfort of a suspected broken jaw, and rose to the challenge of replacing Kevin Pietersen, with only the second century of his one-day international career.
Bell (126) made the same score - unbeaten last time - as in his only previous ODI hundred, on this same ground five years ago, as England piled up 288 for six in the first NatWest Series match against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl.
Bell produced a chanceless innings - with 12 fours and one six from 117 balls - after England were put in under cloudy skies. But on a very good batting surface, by the time Bell mistimed an attempted 'paddle' at a slow full-toss from Dwayne Bravo, he looped a simple catch and became wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin's fourth victim of the day.
The only complicating factor was that five wickets were down already, but Craig Kieswetter and the tail made sure that dwindling resource did not compromise the addition of another 68 runs.
Bell was passed fit this morning, having yesterday edged a pull into his face in indoor practice - a mishap which resulted in 10 stitches and an x-ray on his jawbone. England were almost instantly without their captain and Bell's opening partner Alastair Cook, but a second-wicket stand of 108 in 20 overs put them in good shape.
Cook departed to the third ball of the match, from Ravi Rampaul, pushing forward and edging a modicum of movement behind. Yet it was a near score draw in the first over, after West Indies squandered their only review on an lbw appeal against Jonathan Trott.
Trott first found the boundary, clipping Andre Russell handsomely off his toes from the final ball of the fourth over. Then in Russell's next, Bell was ready to put his stamp on proceedings. A memorable six, struck high over long-off from a length ball, was followed by three fours in five balls - a cut, a pull and another drive on the up wide of mid-off.
Bell therefore went from four to 22 in an over, and Darren Sammy had to start swapping and changing his many bowling options. Bell and Trott reined back to accumulation, and the rush of boundaries was replaced by some cannily-placed twos on this huge playing area.
Even so, Bell eased past his 50 with a high-class four off the back foot through the off-side off Sunil Narine - before doubling his tally of career ODI hundreds, in his 109th match. He lost Trott and Ravi Bopara in near identical fashion, both edging behind as they tried to cut the off-spin of Narine and then Marlon Samuels.
Bell ensured an opener has reached three figures in each of England's last five ODI innings, only to lose Eoin Morgan - chopping on to Samuels at the start of the batting powerplay, and then go himself at the end of it.